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Politics, Elections and Government

Missouri Lawmakers Call on Lee’s Summit Statehouse Candidate To Step Down After Abuse Allegations

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In this October 2019 photo, Rick Roeber is receiving an award from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, given in honor of his wife, Rep. Rebecca Roeber, who died in a July 2019 car crash. Describing himself as a conservative Republican, Roeber is now running for her seat in Lee’s Summit.

Rick Roeber, who is running for his late wife's office, has given no indication that he plans to withdraw his candidacy.

Seventeen Missouri lawmakers are calling on Republican Rick Roeber to step out of the race for state representative following a published report detailing child abuse allegations against him.

The letter, signed by four Republicans and 13 Democrats, refers to a September Kansas City Star Editorial detailing allegations made by his children.

“We the members of the Missouri General Assembly take any allegation of child abuse very seriously. Abuse of any kind is never acceptable and will be met by a zero-tolerance policy by the Legislature,” the statement said. “We believe in forgiveness and the ability of individuals to change, but the honor of serving in the People’s House is a privilege that certain acts preclude.”

The signees include Rep. Sheila Solon, a Republican from St. Joseph, who is chair of the House Children and Families Committee.

“This isn't a Republican or a Democrat issue. This is about believing victims of child sexual and physical abuse,” Solon said. “And we all need to stand together and say that we don't believe a person who has abused their children should be seated in the Missouri House.”

The Star interviewed Roeber’s ex-wife and their three adult children and reviewed a 2003 deposition which included details of the alleged abuse. The allegations include physical and sexual abuse.

Roeber did not immediately respond to KCUR’s request for comment. He describes himself as a conservative Republican on his campaign website and where he also endorses President Trump.

In a September Facebook post, Roeber denied the allegations, saying the “Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board (CANRB) concluded that all accusations were without merit and I was completely exonerated.”

“Now, these same allegations are being brought up, just one month prior to my election. The desperation of Democrats and the Main Stream Media to discredit my campaign is deplorable and indefensible,” Roeber wrote in the post.

The Kansas City Star obtained the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board letter which showed the board only reviewed one of Roeber’s children’s allegations of sexual maltreatment.

Roeber is running against Democrat Chris Hager in the Lee’s Summit district, which was previously held by Roeber’s wife Rebecca Roeber. She championed charter school expansion and died in 2019.

Democrat Rep. Keri Ingle of Lee’s Summit said if Rick Roeber is elected, she hopes the House refuses to seat him.

“I think it's so important now that we support the courage of survivors to come forward and to tell their story,” Ingle said. “Because every time they do it makes it more and more likely that someone else will have that courage to come forward.”